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Yesteryear by Sammy Way: Flag pole dedicated on Tricentennial Week; Pinewood hosts Possum Trot Fest for 2nd year

By SAMMY WAY
Sumter Item archivist and historian
Posted 5/23/20

75 YEARS AGO - 1945

Dec. 14 - Dec. 20

- December checks for distribution in Sumter County to needy persons receiving public assistance are being mailed from the state public welfare office in time to be received early this week, it is …

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Yesteryear by Sammy Way: Flag pole dedicated on Tricentennial Week; Pinewood hosts Possum Trot Fest for 2nd year

Posted

75 YEARS AGO - 1945

Dec. 14 - Dec. 20

- December checks for distribution in Sumter County to needy persons receiving public assistance are being mailed from the state public welfare office in time to be received early this week, it is announced by the chairman of the county board of public welfare, C.E. Hurst. Residents of the county will receive approximately the following amounts during the week: old age assistance, $6,900; aid to the needy blind, $400; aid to dependent children, $1,200; general relief, $1,100; total $9,600."

- Coaches and sports writers of the Carolinas have been invited to join local citizens here Dec. 27 in honoring the big small town boy who made good on the gridiron. The hometown honors will go to twice All-American Felix (Doc) Blanchard Jr., fullback of Army's champion football team, who is expected here Friday for a Christmas vacation from West Point. The affair will be a banquet given jointly by the Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions and Pilots clubs.

- The possibility of establishing armored, ordnance and air corps units to the Clemson college Reserve Officers Training Corps organization was made known today by Dr. Robert Franklin Poole, president. The three additional units, which would be supplementary to the Clemson basic infantry unit, would be installed before the beginning of the fall term next September."

- Edmunds High School will present the Girls' Chorus in its annual Christmas program to be given at the school. Miss Nan Sturgis is directing the chorus, and Mrs. S. Howard Jones is the accompanist. The program includes soloists, readings from various texts and groups of singers. Miss Lucy Ann Cuttino will accompany Bobby Cuttino at the piano. The music department will be assisted in the program by the art and dramatics departments.

- American prosecutors today called on the international military tribunal to convict as war criminals 600,000 members of the Nazi leadership corps - described as "the brain, backbone and directing arm of the Nazi party." Opening a new phase of the war crimes trial of 21 top Hitlerite leaders, the prosecution charged that thousands of members of such once-powerful organizations as the Leadership Corps, the Elite Guard (SS), the Storm Troops (SA), the Reich cabinet, the Gestapo and the German high command should also be declared guilty as war criminals.

- Robert Epps, quarterback of the 3rd Regiment Football team, champions of the Seventh Army, spoke with Capt. H.D. Osteen, public relations officer of United States Air Force in Europe, at Darmstadt, Germany, before the start of the game with the 100th Infantry. The 3rd Regiment won the game 26 to 6, Epps scoring one of the touchdowns.

- A World War II Memorial Association was chartered by the state today to erect a building at Sumter in honor of the county's servicemen. Funds for the memorial are to be obtained by contributions.

- Vice Admiral Theodore C. Wilkinson related today that he set a death trap for Japanese Admiral Yamamoto despite fears that the Japanese would thereby learn that the United States was cracking their codes. The former head of naval intelligence and later a seafighter with Admiral William F. Halsey gave the account to a Senate house committee investigating the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941.

- First Lt. Ashby Dick arrived in Sumter on Dec. 8 after 20 months in North Africa and Europe. Lt. Dick is wearer of the Purple Heart with an Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Silver Star and an Oak Leaf Cluster, the Presidential Citation, the French Foraguere and a campaign ribbon with five battle stars and a bronze arrowhead."

- Selling more than half the quota of Sumter County's E bonds in the Victory Loan drive, pupils in the city schools have brought to a close a fine record of participation in the war. In the eight bond campaigns, they sold approximately $1.5 million worth of bonds.

- The Shaw Field Fliers basketball team will officially open its season tonight against the Sumter Independents, a group of former Sumter High School and college players, according to an announcement this morning by Lt. Bob Sterling, physical training officer and coach of the Shaw Field team. The Sumter squad has been whipped together by a group of players from this city, and they have been practicing to work out a smooth operating team to give the Shaw Field Fliers some good competition.

50 YEARS AGO - 1970

Aug. 17 - 23

- When the first city bus line began in Sumter 28 years ago, Russell J. Morris became a bus driver. Today he is the only one of the original drivers who still works for the transit company. "Morris is a very satisfactory driver," Arthur Henderson, city bus manager, stated. "I don't know of anything he could do to improve his service to us. He is well-liked, he gets along well with all the other drivers, and his passengers love him."

- The highest student enrollment in Clemson University's 77-year history, including the largest freshman class ever, is expected next week for the 1970-71 year. Kenneth N. Vickery, dean of admissions and registration, predicts a total enrollment of 7,600 men and women, including about 400 students at Clemson's Sumter and Greenville campuses.

- A Citizens Advisory committee has been named by the Board of Trustees of School District 17. The group will hold its organizational meeting with the board tomorrow night, School Board Chairman Robert O. Purdy III said. "We are deeply grateful to the parents, civic organizations and citizens generally of the district for the nominees they suggested for this public service."

- Hundreds of Sumter citizens and honored guests yesterday reflected on the past 300 years and rededicated themselves to a better tomorrow. The occasion was the dedication of a flag pole in front of the Project T-Square facility on South Guignard Drive. It coincided with Sumter County's kickoff of its Tri-centennial Week. Jim Eaves, manager of the Sumter Chamber of Commerce, set the tone of the gathering. He said, "Judge your todays, and work for your tomorrows."

- Seven races produced seven different winners at the Sumter Speedway, and two new faces were seen in the winners' circle following two of the main events while a very familiar figure picked up a win in one of the modified features. Winners were: Phil Hanna, claim main event; Slick Gibbons, first modified race; and Bob Hickman, another modified clash.

- Tri-centennial Week activities for Sumter County got underway and will last a week. Tonight there will be a reception for dignitaries and invited guests to honor the first appearance of the Sumter County Historical Vignettes, a book on historic homes, churches and sites throughout Sumter County.

- Judging of the 38 mini-parks throughout Sumter County took place today with the winners being announced at a luncheon. Nationally accredited flower show judges viewed before and after pictures and information about the parks as well as visited the parks.

- Soybeans grown in Sumter and Lee counties by Ray V. Segars Jr. are being sent to Japan in an attempt to sell Japanese food-producers on the South Carolina crops as a source of supply. Soybeans are used in Japan to make tofu, a basic food. Milk is extracted from the soybeans, and a curd is formed from the milk. The curd is known as tofu.

- Not only the Women's Liberation but the men stationed at Shaw Air Force Base will be happy to learn that the new director for the Sumter USO is a female, Miss Judith Ann Gaffga of Garden City, New York. LeDeitrich O. Coggin was director of the USO until he was reassigned to the Armed Services YMCA in Charleston. Miss Gaffga has been working with USO for two years and just recently returned from Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, where she spent one-and-a-half years working with the USO there.

- Yesterday's official Recognition Ceremonies for Sumter County's Tri-centennial Week at the courthouse square ended with a striking ceremony at the gravesite of Gen. Thomas Sumter in Stateburg. After an introduction of state and local dignitaries, Sen. Henry B. Richardson introduced Gen. W. S. Coleman, commander of Fort Jackson and a native of Anderson County, who spoke to the audience.

- The Graham Shelter for children was built about 1855 and received a plaque during the Tri-centennial Week. The home was built by Elijah Pringle for his town house, and later it was purchased by First Baptist Church as its first parsonage for pastor Dr. Clinton Capers Brown. The home has been owned by Mrs. R. D. Graham since 1928 and has been extensively remodeled. In 1966, it was presented by Mrs. Graham to the Salvation Army for use as a children's home.

- Last week's election that filled two city council seats was the 99th municipal election held in Sumter since its founding in 1900. During the first 45 years of its existence, Sumterville remained unincorporated. When the village was incorporated in 1945, its government was to be carried out by a council made up of an intendant (mayor) and our wardens (councilmen). Town records for these early years were destroyed in a fire, and the first intendant's name isn't known with certainty.

- The Golden Age Club, 436 West Hampton Ave., was built about 1845. In 1931, it was removed from the southwest corner of North Main and West Calhoun streets to 6 W. Calhoun St. The house was relocated to its present site in 1966 under the sponsorship of Mrs. R. D. Graham for the Golden Age Club.

- The Frank A. McLeod family home on West Hampton Avenue was dedicated this week by the Historical Commission. This house was built about 1840. It was given to First Presbyterian Church and in 1960 was used as a manse. The home was later owned by the Noah G. Osteen family, and in 1923, the McLeod family purchased the home."

- The Henry Haynsworth house on Haynsworth Street also received a permanent plaque from the Historical Commission. This house was built about 19445 and has been used as a children's home. It was acquired in 1946 by the present owners, Dr. and Mrs. Robert B. Bultman, who have renovated the large antebellum town house.

25 YEARS AGO - 1995

May 17 - 23

- Sumter School District 17 trustees had a busy meeting. After they left a Sumter County Council meeting, they approved a vastly different expulsion policy, the resignation of an assistant superintendent and three principals, a reorganization of district administrators and a bid to purchase a call-back intercom system at Sumter High School. Sumter 17 Superintendent Dr. Andrena Ray announced that Assistant Superintendent for Instruction John Tudor is leaving to take an administrative position in the Cayman Island school system.

- Sumter School District 17 asked Sumter County Council for an additional $2.4 million in property taxes for next year while Sumter School District 2 asked for an increase of $516,000. School officials presented their requests to council at a budget workshop, saying school program cuts and increased property taxes may have to make up for money the state Legislature won't be giving them this year. If council agrees to the requested increases, it would mean a $52 tax increase for the owner of a $50,000 home in Sumter 17 and a $26.40 increase for the owner of a $50,000 home in Sumter 2. Each district gets about 25 percent of its total budget from local property taxes.

- Jimmy McDuffie seemed uncomfortable, even a little embarrassed, with all the attention he was getting. That would explain why a man who has donated more than $450,000 to the city to build the West Liberty Street overpass at Sumter's Swan Lake-Iris Gardens has wanted to keep his identity a secret until now. "I suspect everybody knows (who I am) now," McDuffie said, still debating whether he should reveal his identity to the public. "So I guess it's OK to print my name." In an evening ceremony, Sumter Mayor Steve Creech declared the overpass "McDuffie Crosswalk."

- Farmer "Woody" Green is postponing planting his soybean crop this season. He doesn't want it to suffer like the corn, which is standing nearly brittle in the fields in the Trinity community near Lynchburg. The soil is simply too dry. Area farmers hoped this year's spring weather couldn't get any worse than last spring's record drought. Unfortunately for the harvest, it has. Like Green's corn, corn crops across the state are withering, hit hardest by the dry weather.

- Although one would be hard-pressed to classify two consecutive years as a tradition, traditions have to start somehow, and that's what the town of Pinewood is shooting for. Pinewood will host the Possum Trot Festival for the second consecutive year. If it's as successful this year as last, the event may again become an annual event as it was from 1982 until 1989.

- The South Carolina Department of Transportation Commission's first-ever Sumter meeting brought news of concrete plans to repair county roadways and build new ones. The commission met with Sumter County and city officials for the commission's monthly meeting. Sumter Mayor Steve Creech gave a presentation on Sumter's top three pending road construction projects - for which the area needs SCDOT dollars.

- The Item's Panorama section was honored by the Governor's Office for its coverage of aging issues. The award was presented during the annual Senior Celebration awards ceremony, sponsored by the governor's Division on Aging. Thursday marked the first time the division has awarded print media for its coverage of aging issues. Also given were regional awards for outstanding older South Carolinians and other agencies and businesses that support the elderly.

- Sumter County Sheriff's Office investigators Rick Nelson and Dana Wingate must feel like old-time revenuers. The pair took to the woods outside Pinewood in black fatigues and boots to find and photograph a whiskey still they had gotten a tip about, planning to go back later with more deputies to stake out or bust up the operation. But they said they got lucky when they achieved the goal of every alcohol agent of old to sneak up on a man actually turning sour mash into moonshine.

- With the opening of Lakewood and Crestwood high schools just a little over a year away, Sumter School District 2 Superintendent Dr. Frank Baker is shuffling personnel and reassignment positions among those on the athletic coaching staffs of the district's three existing high schools for their final year of existence. Easing the transition from three high schools to two for both the staff and the student body is the main reason for the upheaval, according to Baker.

- Rafting Creek Elementary School's Drug-Free School Program has been named one of the nation's best by the U.S. Department of Education. Last November, 192 schools from 41 states were nominated for the recognition. An education department group of educators, parents, community leaders and law enforcement personnel reviewed the nominations and visited 157 schools between January and April. In the end, Rafting Creek was one of 113 selected for recognition.